Valerie Young is the Director of Outreach for the Caring Economy Campaign, promoting policies that value care as the origin of economic prosperity and national well-being. She is a public policy analyst and women's rights advocate in Washington DC.
Valerie Young is a public policy analyst who focuses on the economic status of mothers and other family caregivers. She promotes social justice by arming mothers with information and a healthy dose of outrage. She is the Advocacy Coordinator at the Nati
Blog Post List
June 16, 2014
Mark Tyler and I have been talking about the ups and downs of being the at home parent. I asked him to write a post about his experience. After several weeks of writing between bouts of cooking, cleaning, hugging, story- telling, dressing, playing, undressing, bathing, brushing, combing, driving, picking up and putting away, he sent me the following. Thanks, Mark, and a very happy Father's Day to you. With all of the advancements that women have made in our society, including succeeding in job fields that were previously denied to them, and now obtaining well over half of all college and...
June 5, 2014
My friend and colleague in the fight for family caregivers, Janice Lynch Schuster, recently had a conversation with her children about what may happen when she becomes older. It went like this, as Janice wrote in Fierce Urgency of Now: Family Caregivers and the Future that is Upon Us for the blog Disruptive Women in Health Care: Just before Mother’s Day, I was a guest on an Al-Jazeera news segment focused on the challenges of aging in America. It was my first-ever news appearance, and, later, I proudly showed a recording to my adult daughters when they came by to visit. The segment included a...
May 6, 2014
I have big plans for Mother's Day this year. In fact, I'm giving myself more than a day - considering the number of minor miracles I pull off on a regular basis, I'm sure I merit several days. You, too, I'm thinking... First, I'm going to make sure I am down at the US Capitol Tuesday afternoon to make a motherlovin' fuss about the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. Personally, I think the last person who should have to worry about getting fired is a pregnant woman. Soon she'll not only be supporting herself, but a child too. She needs that job and wants to keep...
April 14, 2014
In Part I of this guest post by Cyma Shapiro, we explored the fundamental economics of choosing midlife mothering. Here, we listen to experts and midlife mothers weigh-in on this increasingly prevalent life choice. You can pop back to Part I of this post , if you wish, to refresh your recollection before moving on to Part II. What price will women pay to achieve motherhood? At what cost will someone over age 40 go to, to fulfill a dream of loving, nurturing and having a family? Does the increasing number of women choosing new older parenting mean that the sheer economics of it all require...
April 7, 2014
Cyma Shapiro, 56, a writer and executive director of the art gallery show NURTURE: Stories of New Midlife Mothers, and the writer/creator of MotheringintheMiddle.com . NURTURE features a collection of 25 (out of 60) stories told through words and photos, of women from across the country who chose motherhood over 40. Both endeavors are intended to celebrate midlife mothers — women choosing motherhood over 40 through adoption, in vitro, natural childbirth, surrogacy, fostering, guardianship and blending stepfamilies. Cyma is also an author. The Zen of Midlife Mothering celebrates the heartbreak...
March 31, 2014
I wrote this post for The Shriver Report, where it originally appeared on March 21, 2014. They have kindly given me permission to post it here in full. Here is a link to its original appearance. Everything I know about how women got the right to vote in this country began with a movie called “ Iron-jawed Angels ”. I was invited to a screening in the Library of Congress before the HBO broadcast. It was then that I realized that women’s suffrage, treated like something of a footnote in US history class, was such a controversial issue that women had been beaten, imprisoned, tortured, and...
March 24, 2014
Two weeks ago I posted the first part of my interview with Brigid Schulte, Washington Post reporter and author of Overwhelmed; Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, her just-published study of the effect of living at warp speed and the unrealistic and unnecessary expectations of workers and parents. You can refresh your memory of Part One here , if you like, before reading the concluding portion of my interview below. PART TWO How do our cultural expectations of motherhood interact with overwhelm? Do they exacerbate it? Do maternal guilt and anxiety play a part? Guilt is the default...
March 17, 2014
On Monday, March 17, you can watch The Shriver Report's new documentary "Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert" on HBO. This film traces the daily frustrations of a single mother of three kids who works as a direct care aide in a nursing home. While the film drills down into the details of Katrina's life, the point of the whole film is that 42 million women in the US are walking a high wire every day. Working at low wage jobs, they put off their own needed health care or filling their prescriptions in favor of putting gas in the car or paying for child care. Missing a...
March 10, 2014
Author Brigid Schulte has a job, a house, a husband, several children, and a whole lot of stress. She's also just written a book, available online and at your favorite bookstore, called Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time , about how we've taken on way more than we can handle, what it's doing to our lives and our families, and how we can learn to live differently. She graciously made time for my questions, both here and in my next post on this blog. Do fathers and mothers experience overwhelm differently? Absolutely! Right now, mothers are still doing twice the...
March 4, 2014
The best thing about March is the annual outpouring of information about women. This year's rich harvest includes some terrific profiles of women's work in photography, theater, and museum leadership. Make no mistake - new ground is being broken here, and we are still seeing many "firsts". My own WHM observance began last week, at the National Geographic's Women of Vision exhibit. Going in, you only know you will see the work of 11 female photojournalists. I wondered, will their gender be obvious in their work? Do they choose different subjects than men do? Do they see the world through a...
February 24, 2014
I loved the visibility of mothers in the Sochi Olympics. I appreciated the fact that the commentators mentioned whether a particular athlete had children. Even the sometimes corny P&G commercials about moms were significant. The athletes don't achieve their current status on their own. Many people contributed to their success, and their mothers without doubt played a very central role. The P&G ad that totally captures the courage and ferocity motherhood requires is this 60 second spot , featuring the mothers of paralympians. "You could have protected me. You could have taken every hit...
February 18, 2014
We’re poised at a sweet spot between the release of The Shriver Report in January, and the arrival of March as Women’s History Month. Momentum is growing for paid leave and paid sick days, candidates for the 2014 mid-term elections are shaping their campaigns, and think tanks in DC are churning out data on women at a furious pace. Nancy Pelosi and Kirsten Gillibrand have been pushing their Women’s Economic Opportunity Agenda with legislation to promote pay equity, paid leave, paid sick days, accessible and affordable child care, and an end to discrimination against pregnant workers. Under the...
February 13, 2014
Women can and do run for office, but their path to politics differs from the one most men follow. Women are generally asked to run and likely to have been recruited. Men tend to initiate their own candidacy, and worry less about if they are qualified or not. Women tend to feel under qualified, regardless of their background and experience. Women are far more likely to become involved politically because of a certain issue they are passionate about, like gun control, or education, or the need for public libraries. Men frame it as more of a career move. It is not surprising, then, that male...
February 3, 2014
I wrote this post for the Mothers Central Blog , where it appeared on January 16, 2014. Kate Fineske, the mother-in-charge of the site, graciously gave me permission to cross post it on my own blog, where you will find it in full below. Check out the rest of Kate's collection about parenting, motherhood, and how we achieve the impossible every. single. day - but only after you've finished reading this post! Mention politics to most people, and their eyes glaze over. Who can blame them? It’s depressing, an endless display of bad behavior by self-serving and self-important stuffed shirts. And...
January 27, 2014
Big doins' this week! We're all getting on the horn to talk about women in the US, how to get to fair pay, why families need a paid leave program they can count on, and what paid sick days would mean for the economic security of moms and dads. Just like child care, these issues connect public policy to the economy and to our well-being and that of our families. And it's really cool - once you RSVP, they will call YOU! On Wednesday, January 29th, the National Association of Mothers' Centers, our allies, and champions in Congress invite you to join an unprecedented national conversation about...
January 7, 2014
In the past 24 hours I've come across three items in two major newspapers that are totally unrelated, but in light of each other, suggest to me that women's status in the US may be sliding back faster than it is moving forward. Maybe you'll agree? The first is an column by Dana Milbank, a political writer at the Washington Post, entitled Courts Reap What They Sow . The primary message is that recent decisions of the US Supreme Court have allowed those with wealth and power to exert tremendous influence in elections, the selection of candidates, and the shaping of policies. This ocean of cash...
December 10, 2013
I will be strapping on my snow boots and slogging up the Hill later this week to see star legislators Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Rosa DeLauro introduce a bill that would provide most workers with 12 weeks of partially paid leave for a birth, adoption, or to deal with their own or a family member's serious medical condition. This is a BIG deal, for a number of reasons, available here from the National Partnership for Women & Families . Which one is the most important to you? 1. The U.S. is the lone hold out of all industrial nations (and most of the world) in not having...
December 3, 2013
My New York Times Sunday Dialogue piece on pro-family policy changes that could improve caregivers' economic security elicited a number of responses. One led me to a post by Valerie Adrian, a mother of 3 currently pursuing her Ph,D. in Sociology on the opposite side of the country, but engaged in issues of gender and work like I am. Instead of the usual middle class context for "opting out" she wrote about "... my own experiences as a working class mom in the secondary sector, for whom staying at home meant a little dignity and autonomy, even with tighter belts." I offer below excerpts from...
November 21, 2013
Social security!!! I know, I know, you will be tempted to stop reading this post as soon as you realize I'm going to talk about retirement - AGAIN!. But wait. Maybe it feels too far away. Maybe the problems you are solving today seem so much more important. Maybe you are too maxed out with the here and now to even contemplate the then and how? It is so typical of us women to worry about ourselves last. But I keep bringing it up because our economic security, both now and later in our lives, deserves to be a top priority. Please take a few minutes and think of YOURSELF for a change. Listen to...
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